Certain roadway emergencies commonly cause Missouri car accidents, injuries

looming-clouds-over-road-175108-m.jpgSometimes, Missouri car accidents simply can't be avoided, but the vast majority of crashes are entirely preventable. It's important to be aware that certain roadway scenarios commonly cause drivers to panic and react without thinking, making crashes even more likely. Knowing what to do in these situations can be lifesaving - for you, your passengers, and other motorists on the road. In this post, our Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers discuss three common driving emergencies and offer some tips to help you handle these scenarios safely.

Driving Emergency #1: Deer

Most Missouri drivers know that colliding with a deer can be extremely dangerous. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that approximately 275,000 car/deer collisions occur in the U.S. every year, and an average 200 people are killed as a result of these accidents. Car/deer collisions tend to be most common during deer mating season in November, which is just around the corner. If you see a deer along the road, your best bet is to slow down: deer tend to travel in groups, so if there's one in the area, you can assume others are nearby.

So, what do you do if a deer darts in front of your vehicle? Safety experts say that it's often best to hit the deer, rather than jerking the wheel instinctively and swerving out of your lane: trying to avoid the deer can cause a rollover accident or a collision with another object, like a vehicle or tree. If impact can't be avoided, stay calm, grip the steering wheel with both hands, apply the brakes firmly, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.

Driving Emergency #2: Tire blowout

A tire blowout can be extremely frightening, which is why many drivers panic and react poorly - often by slamming on the brakes. If you experience tire trouble, resist the impulse to brake suddenly: instead, ease off the accelerator and allow your vehicle to slow down gradually. Then, gently steer your vehicle to the side of the road.

After slowing, the NSC recommends rolling the car off the road rather than stopping in the middle of traffic and risking a rear-end or side-impact collision. Be sure to turn on your emergency flashers. If you can change the tire safely, do so - if not, you should call for assistance. As the NSC points out, "changing a tire with traffic whizzing past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous at worst."

Driving Emergency #3: Skidding

Turning abruptly, changing lanes suddenly and hard braking can cause your vehicle to skid - especially when these maneuvers are attempted at higher speeds or on slippery roads. Safety authorities agree that the best way to handle this scenario is remove your foot from the gas. Then, instead of yanking the wheel in the opposite direction (which can lead to over-correction), turn gently in the direction you want the vehicle to go, taking care not to over-steer.

When you feel your vehicle regain traction on the roadway surface, straighten out your wheels. Again, the key is to stay calm and work to bring your vehicle under control.

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Speed a common contributing factor in Missouri car accident injuries

September 10, 2014

DSCN8171.jpgHere in Missouri, speed was a contributing factor in 286 fatal accidents and 6,546 injury crashes in 2012 alone. These accidents resulted in 320 deaths and over 9,700 people injured. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for roadway conditions is a leading cause of serious car accidents throughout the state. As Cape Girardeau car accident lawyers, we know first-hand that speeding can prove to be a dangerous, often deadly mistake.

In 1995, the National Highway System Designation Act repealed the national maximum speed limit, which cleared the way for individual states to determine their own speed limits. In the 17 years that followed, 35 states - including Missouri - increased their maximum speed limit to 70 miles per hour. Studies have shown that increased speed limits don't necessarily cause a higher number of car accidents - but they definitely produce more serious crashes.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), speed can affect car accidents - and their resulting injuries - in three basic ways:

1. Speeding vehicles travel a greater distance in the time between the moment a driver recognizes an emergency and the moment the driver reacts to that emergency.

2. Speeding vehicles require more time and space to stop following the moment a driver hits the brakes.

3. Speeding vehicles create more crash energy. When a collision occurs, the crash energy created must be managed by the vehicles involved, their restraint systems, and roadway fixtures like crash barriers. The greater the speed, the greater the crash energy produced: for example, if impact speed increases from 40 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour, the crash energy also increases - by a staggering 125%. Thus, when crashes occur at high speeds, the crash energy can be too severe "that the vehicle structure cannot withstand the force of the crash and maintain survival space in the occupant compartment."

When a collision involves a car and a pedestrian instead of two vehicles, the effect of impact speed is even more directly tied to the level of injury. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that the average risk of severe injury in a pedestrian collision increases dramatically with impact speed:

• If impact speed is 16 mph, the pedestrian injury risk is 10%.
• If impact speed is 31 mph, the pedestrian injury risk is 50%.
• If impact speed is 39 mph, the pedestrian injury risk is 75%.
• If impact speed is 46 mph, the pedestrian injury risk is 90%.

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After a Cape Girardeau car accident: Four tips to remember

car-crash-1432754-m.jpgAs personal injury lawyers, we understand that the aftermath of a car crash can be confusing and overwhelming. After all, car accidents tend to happen when we least expect them, and it's common for injury victims to feel like their lives have been suddenly turned upside down. And with more traffic in the road, accident risks increase for Missouri motorists during the summer months ahead. In this post, we share four basic steps to help you ensure your rights and interests are protected. Knowing what to do before an accident occurs can save you time and stress, should the unexpected happen to you.

Four important steps to take after a southeast Missouri car accident:

1. Assess your injuries and seek medical treatment. First and foremost, you'll want to check for injuries to yourself, your passengers, and any other parties involved in the crash. If anyone needs immediate medical attention, call for an ambulance - and if you're in doubt, err on the side of caution. Depending on the extent of your injuries, your medical treatment might involve a visit to the ER, Urgent Care or your family doctor. In any case, you'll want to seek treatment as soon as possible following the accident. Be sure to explain all of your injuries and pain in detail. Often, injury victims focus on the injuries that hurt the most, and as a result, the medical records may not reflect the full scope of their injuries.

2. Call the police and file an accident report. An accident report is extremely important - and useful - for three basic reasons. First, it contains the name and address of each driver involved and provide the name of each driver's insurance company. Second, it documents the circumstances surrounding the crash and offers the police officer's conclusions about how the accident happened and who was at fault. And third, it outlines certain facts about the collision, including weather and road conditions.

3. Gather and preserve important evidence. Take photographs of your injuries, your vehicle, and - when possible - the accident scene. Keep a journal that details your medical treatment and your recovery process. Save any paperwork you receive that's related to the crash, including medical bills, letters from insurance companies, receipts, etc. Finally - importantly - keep all of these materials together in a folder or binder to ensure no evidence is lost. These materials can play a key role in personal injury claims.

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Springtime brings an increase in Missouri motorcycle accidents

speed-of-motorcycle-1016169-m.jpgSpring is here, and many Cape Girardeau motorcyclists are now back on the road, taking advantage of the warm temperatures. Sadly, at this time of year, Missouri law enforcement officials and emergency rooms consistently report an increase in motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities. Within a two-week period in late March, five people were killed in motorcycle accidents in the St. Louis area.

Sadly, all too many springtime accidents involving motorcycles are completely preventable.This spring, our auto accident lawyers want to remind drivers in southeast Missouri to always look twice for motorcycles: after all, many car/motorcycle collisions occur because drivers simply don't realize motorcycles are traveling near them until it's too late. What's more, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious, life-threatening injuries when they're involved in accidents with larger vehicles. In this post, we share a few tips to help drivers avoid these dangerous accidents.

Avoiding motorcycle accidents: Tips for Cape Girardeau drivers

1. Think of any motorcycle in motion as a PERSON, not a vehicle. They have much less protection than you do in your vehicle in the event of a traffic accident: there's virtually nothing to shield riders from the force of impact with another vehicle, or with the pavement.

2. Remember, motorcyclists can be harder to spot than other kinds of vehicles. Make it a habit to look left - right - left, especially when pulling out of a driveway or making a turn.

3. Keep an alert eye out for motorcycles when changing lanes or passing trucks: a motorcycle can be masked by a larger vehicle or disappear into a blind spot.

4. Often, motorcyclists don't use their brakes to slow down - and therefore, there will be no telltale brake light to warn you. Keep a safe distance behind motorcycles.

5. Motorcyclists frequently adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to steer clear of road debris or passing cars. In other words, they are not moving over to allow you to share their lane. Just like any other vehicle, motorcycles are entitled to an entire lane.

This season, please stay alert and drive safe! Motorcycle accidents can be prevented and lives can be saved, provided we each act responsibly and drive with a bit more care.

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Missouri rollover accidents often caused by drivers swerving to avoid deer

mjzL2gM.jpgAccording to State Farm, the country's largest insurer of private passenger automobiles, there were over a million car-deer collisions in the U.S. between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. Here in Missouri, drivers were involved in an estimated 28,096 collisions with deer during the same time period. (Missouri was also ranked the 19th most dangerous state for this kind of accident: the likelihood that a Missouri driver will collide with a deer is 1 in 150, compared to a national average of 1 in 193.) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that these accidents result in approximately 200 deaths, 10,000 injuries and $4.6 billion in costs every year.

Our Poplar Bluff car accident lawyers urge motorists to be extremely cautious, as many Missourians regularly travel through areas where deer are abundant. Car-deer collisions are most likely to happen in the fall (during mating season) and the spring (when fawns are born, and deer are moving about to search for food). Dawn and dusk are the most dangerous times of day, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), because deer are active, traffic is heavy, and roadway visibility can be limited.

These collisions can have all manner of troublesome consequences. The Insurance Information Institute (III) says "the average claim for deer-vehicle collisions is $3,100, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of the damage, up 1.7 percent from a year ago." Not only are these accidents costly, they're also extremely hazardous: car-deer collisions regularly cause serious injuries and fatalities. In fact, these accidents often turn dangerous and even deadly when a motorist swerves to avoid hitting a deer in the roadway.

Injuries resulting from many car accidents involving deer aren't caused by impact with the deer, but by the crashes caused when drivers attempted to avoid the deer. Russ Rader, IIHS spokesman, says this chain of events is a common one. "These crashes happen so fast, often times drivers don't have the option of making a decision about what to do," Rader says. "But the best thing, unfortunately, in most cases is to hit the animal and try to avoid swerving or doing something that could cause you to lose control and hit somebody else or an object or go off the road and roll over."

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Remember bicycle safety as temperatures warm in southeast Missouri

bicycle-crossing-sign-1431139-m.jpgAfter this last round of winter weather, it's great to have a nice day in Cape Girardeau! More spring days will be here before we know it, and after the winter we've had, many Missourians are itching to get back outside. If you're planning on riding a bicycle either for transportation or enjoyment this year, it's a good idea to refresh your memory about safe riding practices. In this post, our auto accident lawyers share four facts about bicycle accidents, and we encourage drivers and cyclists to work together to share the road safely this spring.

Four facts about bicycle accidents in southeast Missouri and nationwide

1. Many bicycle accidents happen in intersections. It can be difficult for motor vehicle drivers to see bicyclists, since bicycles are smaller and can easily disappear into blind spots or blend into the scenery. It's also common for drivers to misjudge a bicycle's speed and distance. When passing through an intersection, use extra caution and signal your intentions - never assume a driver sees you. Also, remember that bicyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as other drivers, so you must obey all traffic signs and signals.

2. Road hazards can be especially dangerous for cyclists. Since bicycles have thin tires and can be relatively unstable, certain roadway obstacles can be disastrous. Be on the lookout for potential hazards like potholes, sewer grates and railroad tracks, which commonly cause cyclists to lose control and crash.

3. Bicycle-related injuries can have serious, long-term consequences. According to 2005 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $5 billion." Serious bike accidents can include road rash, contusions, broken or fractured bones, and traumatic brain injuries.

4. The best way to avoid a bicycle-related head injury is to wear a safety helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bicycle safety helmet use is 85 to 88 percent effective in reducing head and brain injuries. In fact, according to NHTSA, "wearing properly fitted bicycle helmets is the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes."

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Ride safe this spring:10 tips to help you avoid Cape Girardeau motorcycle accidents

missouri-map-215800-m.jpgThankfully, warmer temperatures are on the horizon, and many of our local motorcyclists are preparing to get their bikes out of storage and hit the open road. It's a great time of year to take a moment to remind yourself about the importance of safe riding practices. In this post, our Cape Girardeau auto accident lawyers discuss ten key tips to help you ride safe in 2014.

Ten Safety Tips for Missouri Motorcyclists

1. Check your bike before you ride. Especially if your bike has been in storage during the winter months, you'll want to make sure all its systems are in good working order before you hit the road.

2. Wear your protective gear, including helmet, gloves, boots, jeans and safety glasses. As many riders know all too well, we lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so there's virtually nothing between us and the pavement. Nothing, that is, except our safety gear, so it's crucial to dress smart. Head injuries are especially common in motorcycle accident victims, so a helmet is essential. It's Missouri law, and it just might save your life.

3. Stay visible: don't linger in other vehicles' blind spots. Often, other drivers simply aren't watching out for motorcycles, and many don't realize we're there until it's too late. Motorcycles can be harder to see than other kinds of vehicles, so a key part of safe riding is making sure we stay visible.

4. Use the SEE method: Search for potential danger, Evaluate potential hazards, and Execute proper action to avoid the hazard.

5. Watch for dangerous obstacles like slick pavement, loose gravel and roadway debris. These obstacles, which can be a mere nuisance for other drivers, can be deadly for motorcyclists.

6. Use extra caution in intersections and when turning left. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur when riders are passing through intersections or executing left turns - even when we have the right of way. Use extra caution, and again, never assume another driver sees you.

7. Don't follow too close in case you have to perform an emergency maneuver. If a roadway emergency presents itself, you'll want to have as much time and space as possible to react safely. Never tailgate.

8. Know how to handle passengers. Carrying a passenger will change the way your motorcycle handles. If you're not used to riding with someone else on board, be sure to get plenty of practice before riding in traffic.

9. Carry a balanced load: pack and secure your saddlebags safely. Here again, added weight can change the way you ride. Pack sensibly and make sure the weight is distributed evenly and secured properly.

10. Be patient and enjoy the ride. Remember, when riding, the journey is the destination. Take your time and enjoy having your boots in the breeze. Doing so will help ensure you have a safe, enjoyable ride.

We wish our area motorcyclists a happy riding season! For more information about motorcycle advocacy and upcoming events in our area, please check out our team's motorcycle blog, Ozarks on Two Wheels.

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Teen car accident risks: Facts and statistics for Missouri parents

crashed-car-921217-m.jpgNumerous studies have shown that teen drivers are particularly at risk for car accidents resulting in injury, both here in Missouri and nationwide. In this post, our Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers share ten facts and statistics about teen drivers and the various factors that contribute to these often-serious crashes.

Teen drivers and car accidents: Ten facts & statistics Missouri parents should know

1. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. The CDC reports that per mile driven, drivers between ages 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers age 20 and older.

3. An estimated 25% of teens in 9th through 11th grade have been involved in a crash resulting in injury within their lifetimes.

4. Because they lack driving experience, studies show that teen drivers are more likely to "underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations" than older drivers. Teen drivers are often more likely to speed and less likely to wear their seat belts.

5. In crashes caused by a teen driver's error, 21% happened due to a lack of scanning to detect and react to hazards; 21% happened because the teen driver was traveling too fast for roadway conditions; and 20% happened after the driver was distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle.

6. Distractedness is a prominent - and dangerous - problem among teen drivers. In a survey conducted by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 48% of teen respondents said they talk on a cell phone, at least occasionally, when they're behind the wheel. And 40% of American teenagers say they have ridden with a driver who used a cell phone in a dangerous way.

7. In a national government pool on risky behaviors, 58% of high school seniors admitted that they had texted or emailed while driving within the last month.

8. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many accidents involving teen drivers. Teens have a higher crash risk than older drivers at all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In a 2011 national survey, nearly one in four teens said they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking within the past 30 days.

9. Nighttime is an especially risky time for teen drivers to be on the road. The fatal crash rate for 16 year-old drivers is almost twice as high after dark.

10. Parental involvement is key to preventing teen accidents. Teens who say their parents set ground rules for driving and stayed involved in their driving education are half as likely to cause an accident.

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Give one pint of blood: Save three lives!

aid-box-911442-m.jpgHere at Aaron Sachs and Associates, our car accident lawyers were honored to sponsor the 2014 KFVS Heartland Blood Drive, which set a new record for collections. The Red Cross collected donations at seven locations across the Heartland (Cape Girardeau, Dexter, Poplar Bluff, Perryville, Sikeston, Carbondale and Marion), and this year, the blood drive set new records for collections. A total of 1,550 people donated blood, which garnered 1,441 productive units, shattering the goal of 1,100!

However, there's still a tremendous need for donations. This season's severe winter weather has forced the cancellation of several Red Cross Blood Drives, and many donors simply haven't been able to get out in these icy, cold conditions. We'd like to encourage you to get out and give blood, or to contact the Red Cross about hosting a blood drive of your own.

Why give blood? Facts and statistics to consider:

• Giving just one pint of blood can ultimately save up to three lives.

• In the Missouri-Illinois region, the Red Cross needs to collect almost 800 blood products every single day in order to keep up with demand in our area.

• Every two seconds, a person somewhere in the United States needs blood, which means that more than 41,000 donations are needed nationwide each day. In all, 30 million blood components are transfused in the U.S. every year.

• Since red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, blood supplies must be replenished constantly.

• One car accident victim may need as many as 100 pints of blood.

• All blood types are needed, but the Red Cross has special need for donors with type O negative blood, as it can be transfused to anyone, regardless of the recipient's blood type. Type O is particularly essential in emergency situations, when there simply isn't time to cross-match a recipient's own blood type. Only seven percent of Americans have type O negative blood.

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Drunk driving and Missouri car accidents: 5 sobering facts for Cape Girardeau motorists

drinking-girl-462282-m.jpgIt's no secret that alcohol and driving are a dangerous, often deadly combination. And yet alcohol remains a "significant contributing factor in Missouri's traffic crash experience, especially as it relates to crashes involving death and injury," according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. In 2011, someone was killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash every 2.3 hours throughout the year, the Patrol reports: in all, 208 people died and 3,625 suffered injury in Missouri accidents involving drunk drivers. In this post, our Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers present five startling facts about driving under the influence.

Drunk driving and Missouri car accidents: Five facts

1. Your risk of being involved in a deadly car accident increases with every alcoholic beverage you consume. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), "fatal crash risk increases substantially after 0.05% BAC and climbs more rapidly after o.o8%."

2. Your level of impairment is determined by the amount of alcohol you consume, not by the type of drink you consume. While many people believe that beer and wine are less dangerous than hard liquor, the fact is that there is a similar amount of alcohol in a 12 ounce beer, a four ounce glass of wine, and 1.25 ounces of 80 proof liquor.

3. Young drivers, motorcyclists and motorists with prior DWI convictions are especially at-risk for involvement in alcohol-related auto accidents. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the following:

• Of drivers with BACs at or above the legal limit who were involved in 2010 fatal accidents, one out of three were between the ages of 21 and 24.
• 28% of motorcyclists who died in 2010 crashes had BACs of 0.08% or higher.
• Drivers with BACs at or above the legal limit who were involved in 2010 fatal accidents were four times more likely to have a past DWI conviction on their records than drivers with a 0.00% BAC.

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Missouri drivers encouraged to make child passenger safety a priority in light of new study

September 24, 2013

closed-825531-m.jpgMost Missouri parents would agree that child passenger safety is an extremely important issue, and yet many admit they don't always ensure their little ones are properly buckled up. Our Cape Girardeau car accident lawyers were troubled by the findings of a recent report, commissioned by Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation. The report, which includes a survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children age 10 and under, reveals several troubling trends when it comes to young children and parental attitudes about buckling up. "The number of children dying in car crashes has declined by 58% since 1987 but this research shows that the trend toward buckling up kids on every ride could be heading in the wrong direction," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, in a recent news release. "It only takes one time to be riding in a vehicle without buckling up for a life to be changed forever. During Child Passenger Safety week, we want to remind all parents that it's important to buckle up their kids every time, on every ride."

Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time - Key findings of the study

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that 33% of children who died in 2011 auto accidents were not properly restrained.

• According to the survey, about one in four parents admitted they have driven without ensuring their children were buckled up: 21% of respondents said it was "acceptable to drive with their child unrestrained if they are not driving far." However, as the report points out, 60% of car accidents involving young passengers happen within 10 minutes or less from home.

• About 16% of parents said it was "acceptable to allow children to ride unrestrained on overnight trips," but children are the most prone to suffering accident-related injuries during this time period.

Conclusions: Three important tips for parents from Safe Kids Worldwide

• Always ensure your young passengers are properly restrained when traveling, either by using a seat belt or an age-appropriate child safety seat. It doesn't matter if the trip is short, or if you feel compelled to make them more comfortable. Their safety is paramount - which isn't just good sense, it's also state law. (For more information about Missouri's Child Restraint Law, click here.)

• Talk with other adults who drive with your children on board, and remind them about the importance of buckling up on every single trip.

• Make sure you're using the right kind of child safety seat, given your child's age and weight, and take care to install it properly. (To learn more about choosing and installing the right safety seats, click here.)

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Lack of experience, instruction contributes to car accidents involving Missouri teens

September 10, 2013

steering-wheel-111147-m.jpgAs Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers, we know that accidents involving teen drivers are not uncommon in Missouri and throughout the U.S. Sadly, these accidents can result in serious, life-threatening injuries. A number of factors can contribute to teen crashes, but one factor in particular is often an underlying cause: a simple lack of experience and instruction.

Recent research conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) indicates that "inexperience behind the wheel, immaturity and not enough parental involvement contribute to a higher risk of deadly vehicle accidents among teenage drivers." John Ulczycki, a teen driving expert for the NSC, told USA Today that parents make common mistakes as their teens learn to drive, like focusing on the wrong kinds of skills (like parallel parking instead of scanning for hazards) and underestimating the amount of practice a teen needs. "If you have not spent at least 50 hours driving with your kid, your kid is probably not a safe driver," Ulczycki said.

Teenage drivers and roadway experience: The statistics

• In an analysis of more than 800 car accidents nationwide, researchers found that the vast majority occurred because of a few "common critical errors that are often one of the last in a chain of events leading up to a crash."

• Three specific teen driver errors were a factor in nearly half of the crashes analyzed: (1) a lack of proper scanning to detect and react to roadway hazards; (2) driving too fast for roadway conditions; and (3) distractedness caused by something inside our outside the vehicle.

Missouri's Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law

• In Missouri, you can obtain an Instruction Permit at age 15 by passing vision, road sign and written tests. However, in order to graduate to an Intermediate License at age 16, you must meet a number of requirements, including possessing your Instruction Permit for a minimum of 182 days and receiving 40 hours of driving instruction from a qualified person (a parent, grandparent, or instructor), with at least 10 hours of nighttime instruction.

• An Intermediate License, which is good for up to two years, allows teens to drive alone but with certain restrictions on passengers and nighttime driving.

• Missouri teenagers are not eligible to apply for an Under 21 Full Driver License until the 30-day period immediately preceding their 18th birthday. For more information about Missouri's GDL Law, click here to visit the Department of Revenue's website.

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Avoiding pedestrian accidents as Cape Girardeau students head back to school

school-bus-stop-sign.jpgThis week, students in Cape Girardeau will be heading back to school, and our Missouri personal injury lawyers want to remind drivers and parents in southeast Missouri to make roadway safety a priority, especially at this time of year, when there are so many young pedestrians coming to and from school each day. In this post, we share some useful tips for motorists and some advice to help parents reduce pedestrian accident risks.

Back to school safety tips for Missouri drivers:

• Expect to see more young pedestrians - and bicyclists - on or near roadways, especially during the morning and afternoon hours. Remember that children can be harder to see than other pedestrians, and they often behave unpredictably. Slow down and use extreme caution when you're driving near them.

• Under state law, it's illegal for drivers to pass a school bus that has stopped to drop off or pick up students. Buses have yellow flashing lights that are designed to alert other drivers when they are preparing to stop, and a stop sign equipped with red flashing lights to signal that they are loading or unloading passengers. Be prepared to see these signals, and to respond appropriately.

• Always stop when a school patrol officer or crossing guard directs you to do so. Never block the crosswalk when you are waiting to proceed through a stoplight or make a turn. If your vehicle is partially in the crosswalk, you force pedestrians to walk around your vehicle, which can make them more vulnerable to being struck.

Keeping your student safe: Safety tips for parents to share with their children:

• Children who walk to school should always travel in groups and use the sidewalk, if one is available. If there are no sidewalks, young pedestrians should always walk facing traffic.

• The best place to cross a street is at a crosswalk or intersection. Parents of young pedestrians should caution their children against darting out into a roadway, especially from in-between parked vehicles. Doing so makes it extremely difficult for oncoming drivers to see children and respond in time to avoid a collision.

• If your child rides a bicycle, be sure to review the rules of the road and outline the dangers of riding in traffic. Young bicyclists should always wear properly-fitting helmets and wear bright colors to make themselves more visible to other drivers on the roadway.

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Join us for the KFVS12 Heartland Blood Drive: August 16-17

American_Red_Cross_truck.JPGHere at Aaron Sachs and Associates, we're proud to be a sponsor of the KFVS12 Heartland Blood Drive, to be held Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17 in various locations throughout southeast Missouri. "Each summer the Red Cross typically sees a drop in blood donations, and each summer KFVS12 is there to help keep our supplies stable," said Scott Caswell, CEO of the American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region, in a Red Cross news release. "The Red Cross thanks KFVS and their devoted viewers for all their efforts to help save lives."

Donors will receive a Red Cross t-shirt and a $4.00 Subway gift card (while supplies last). You can schedule an appointment to make a donation on August 16 between 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. or on August 17 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Donations will be accepted at any of the following locations:

• Cape Girardeau: West Park Mall (3049 William Street)
• Charleston: First Baptist Church (301 South Main Street; August 16 only)
• Dexter: Fraternal Order of Eagles (13583 Old Highway 25)
• New Madrid: First United Methodist Church (627 Mill Street; August 16 only)
• Perryville: Elks Lodge (921 North Perryville Boulevard)
• Poplar Bluff: First United Methodist Church (Fifth Street and North Main)
• Sikeston: Sikeston Factory Outlet Mall (100 Outlet Drive)
• Carbondale, IL: University Mall (1237 East Main Street)
• Marion, IL: Illinois Star Centre Mall (3000 West DeYoung Street)
• Paducah, KY: Broadway Church of Christ (2855 Broadway Street; August 16 only)

Schedule your donation appointment today

If you'd like to make an appointment to donate blood at any of the above locations - or if you simply want more information about the event - call 1-800-REDCROSS, or click here to visit the Red Cross's website (enter sponsor code KFVS). All blood types are needed. Donors will be required to provide a donor card, driver's license or two other forms of identification. If you're 18 or younger, you will also have to meet height and weight requirements.

Giving the gift of life: Facts about blood donation from the Red Cross

• Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, including car accident victims, cancer patients, people with blood disorders, and victims of natural disasters.

• Every year, an estimated five million Americans receive blood. On average, 44,000 blood donations are needed each day to meet this demand.

• One car accident victim may need as many as 100 pints of blood.

• By donating blood just one time, you can save more than one life.

Continue reading "Join us for the KFVS12 Heartland Blood Drive: August 16-17" »

Plan ahead to prevent accidents, injuries over the Fourth of July holiday

fireworks.jpgAs the Fourth of July approaches, many Missourians are finalizing their celebration and travel plans for the holiday. According to the AAA, 40.8 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more to enjoy Independence Day festivities between Wednesday, July 3rd and Sunday, July 7th, with 84% of Americans traveling by car. Because of the increased roadway traffic, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that the U.S. will see approximately 540 car accident deaths over the holiday travel period, along with 57,800 expected crash-related injuries. Our Cape Girardeau car accident lawyers want to encourage you to take safety precautions and drive defensively if you plan to travel over the holiday.

To help prevent fatal accidents, officials from the NSC recommend that drivers adopt a proactive attitude about roadway safety. Refrain from using electronic devices while behind the wheel, always wear your seatbelt (and require all your passengers to buckle up), and arrange for sober designated driver if alcohol is a part of your holiday plans. You should also avoid driving while drowsy and stay focused on the road, especially when traffic is heavier than usual. Many serious car accidents are entirely preventable, provided drivers follow these basic steps.

Car accidents aren't the only potential safety hazard during the Fourth of July holiday. Many Americans suffer injuries caused by fireworks-related incidents at this time of year, including serious burns and eye injuries. Here are a few reminders about fireworks laws in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, which are nearly identical:

• Residents may use fireworks between June 27 and July 4. From June 27 to July 3, fireworks can be used from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; on the 4th, fireworks can be used between 10:00 a.m. and midnight.

• Bottle rockets and other aerial fireworks are banned by city ordinances, but residents are free to use any other fireworks that can be sold to private citizens under state law.

• Fireworks may not be used within 100 feet of a gas station or within 600 feet of a hospital, school or church.

• Residents under age 17 are prohibited from purchasing or possessing fireworks.

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